As Edward Norton reveals his desire to play a comic book villain for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment in Christopher Nolan's Batman 3, his comic book hero replacement Mark Ruffalo prepares to bring Bruce Banner to the big screen in Marvel Studios' The Avengers. While some fans scoffed at the importance of an actor to play Banner in the epic team-up film, assuming his alter ego The Hulk would be taking most, if not all of the the bipolar character's screentime, Ruffalo will do you one better.
In 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Norton did a fantastic job of revitalizing the live-action version of Bruce Banner, but when it came time to Hulk out, movie magic took over and the digital artists created the Hulk without Norton's involvement. Same goes for Eric Bana, who played Banner in Ang Lee's earlier attempt at a Hulk film. Mark Ruffalo on the other hand, will be playing the Hulk as well as Banner.
Ruffalo will be pulling an Andy Serkis (Gollum in Lord of the Rings, King Kong in King Kong) for the first time in his career and actually will be performing the motion capture of the CGI'd hulk himself. Vulture caught up to the actor a few evenings ago and uncovered the latest info.
"I'm really excited. No one's ever played the Hulk exactly, they've always done CGI... They're going to do the Avatar stop-action, stop-motion capture. So I'll actually play the Hulk. That'll be fun."
The more control over the character and the more Ruffalo is involved in bringing Banner/Hulk to life again, the better. For me, this does make a difference since Ruffalo will have to play the entire emotional and physical range that the character endures, from playing the gentle Banner to playing the out of control rage-induced monster that is The Hulk.
As for what we can expect from the third actor playing Banner in less than a decade, Ruffalo compares to Bill Bixby's classic live-action Hulk TV series, for which he's proclaimed to be a fan of in the past.
"I really love the first TV version of it, the Bill Bixby one. I'm gonna shoot for that a little bit. He was an everyman in it. He's always on the run and trying to find love. It's really a sympathetic character, before he turns into the Hulk and f***s everything up."
With confirmation that The Avengers, as with Thor and Captain America, are coming in 3D and reports that The Avengers could actually be shot in 3D as opposed to getting the post-conversion treatment, Ruffalo finished off with a quip about not only being the first Banner actor to play the Hulk, but the first to play the 3D version of him.
"I hope I don't bulge in anyone's face, that's all I have to say."
The angst over Ed Norton parting ways with Marvel Studios and Mark Ruffalo stepping in to takeover the part has died down and now we can focus on looking forward to the many exciting projects coming out of Marvel and hoping they'll live up to our expectations.
The Avengers begins shooting in February for a May 4, 2012 release and will be directed by Joss Whedon.